We love our tots more than anything, but at times their behavioural problems can be trying, especially hitting. Here are some reasons as to why your toddler might hit out, and how to handle the situation when they do:
It’s never nice to see, or to feel the brunt of your toddler’s hitting, but it’s important to remember that it’s completely a normal part of your tot’s development. So while your tot is getting the hang of their verbal skills, they will often use aggression to assert their independence, and as a way of getting their message across.
But just because this is happening, doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be consequences to their actions. Take your tot aside make sure they’ve calmed down and explain to them, hitting is not ok. If they are playing with other children when they’re hitting, sit down with your tot and let them watch the other kids play. Explain that they can go back and play, once they’ve calmed down. Avoid trying to reason with your toddler, as they don’t have the cognitive maturity to be able to imagine themselves in another child’s place, or to change their behaviour on verbal reasoning. But they can understand consequences.
Your toddler loves routine and it’s no exception when it comes to the consequences surrounding their behaviour. So as much as possible respond to each episode with your tot the same as you did the last time. If your child recognises a particular pattern, that eventually it will sink-in that if he misbehaves, he’ll get a time out. The same applies to public hitting, even though it might be more difficult, don’t let your embarrassment allow your tot to lash out at you. If people do stare, pass a comment about having “two-year-olds”, and then discipline your tot in the usual fashion.
Wait till your tot has calmed down and then explain alternatives to hitting, when it comes to their behaviour. Ask them what triggered that angry outburst. Emphasise that it’s ok to have angry feelings but, it’s not ok for them to express them in that way. Encourage a more effective way of responding to their anger such as talking it out or asking an adult to help. Make sure your toddler apologises for hitting, even if it is insincere to begin with but they will eventually know to apologise when they hit someone.